Google-Verizon talks bring denial and dismay

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Google-Verizon talks bring denial and dismay

    Reports of a deal between Google and Verizon on “net neutrality’ are generating another public relations backlash against the Internet giant.

    The agreement, said the New York Times, “could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.”

    Google’s Public Policy Blog denied the Times story via Twitter saying “@NYTimes is wrong. We’ve not had any convos [conversations] with VZN [Verizon] about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.”

    Any agreement about payment for Internet traffic would contradict the principle of “net neutrality” which Google has long said it supported (in 2005, in 2006, and in 2008, for example). It would open the prospect of a tiered Internet with some content providers getting higher speed connections than others.

    Google CEO Eric Schmidt all but admitted Google is changing its position.

    “We’re trying to find solutions that bridge between sort of the ‘hard-core Net neutrality or else’ view and the historic telecom view of no such agreement,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters on the sidelines of a tech conference in Lake Tahoe, California, according to CNET’s Binary Blog.

    Josh Silver of Free Press and Huffington Post calls the reported agreement  “The End of the Internet as we Know It.”

    Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, also of HuffPo, says it echoes the consolidation of media and publishing organizations before the rise of the Internet.

    “We have seen the future,” he gibed, “and it is exactly like the past.”

    Information Week says Google’s defense of the public interest in net neutrality is taking a backseat to more commercial concerns:  the two companies want to join forces to compete with Apple.

    Stay tuned.

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